In forestry, Lakehead’s a leader
“knock on wood” ( January issue) is an informative article that identifies many of the challenges
and opportunities facing the evolving discipline
of forest and natural resources management. I
was surprised to note that Lakehead University’s
program, home of the only nationally accredited
undergraduate forestry program in Ontario, was
mentioned only in passing with respect to a faculty name change.
In contrast to many schools and faculties, the
program at Lakehead has maintained steady
enrolment over the past two decades and is seeing increasing student numbers in recent years
for a variety of reasons. Growth in the graduate
programs has also increased, reflecting strong
partnerships with First Nations, large and small
industry, and all levels of government in Canada
One critical element the author missed was
the high demand for graduates from this discipline. Many fourth-year students in Lakehead’s
faculty of natural resources management are
already considering multiple job offers that they
can take up when they graduate next spring. This
is no doubt due to the specific course material
but also because they have developed valuable
marketable skills in consistent, well-paying summer employment from their first year forward.
Thank you for highlighting the growth in
this sector along with the innovations in the various programs across the country.
Dr. Luckai, a professional forester, is an associate professor and
chair of the honours bachelor of environmental management
program at Lakehead University.
Easy as ABC
i’m glad that in my field of pure mathematics
there’s no need at all for “the talk” about whose
name should go first (“Who gets the credit?” January issue). The concept of first, second ... last
author doesn’t exist. Always, without exception,
the authors are listed alphabetically in papers.
Mr. Fernández is a doctoral student in the department of mathematics and statistics at York University.
Developing writing skills
while i agree that some kind of assessment
would be useful for students as they graduate
from university, I’d like to point out that assessment – done correctly – is an expensive and
extensive project (“You can’t prove what you
don’t measure,” January issue). As part of the
1976 entrance class at the University of Waterloo, I wrote the entrance test on the topic of “how
to put on a coat.” This wasn’t a very good test for
a variety of reasons. But one issue it highlights
is the need to have a test that accurately measures the writing skill that students either have
at the end of high school or will need to develop
in their degree programs (my 1976 test fails on
We could have an entrance test that measures
whether or not students can write well at the
secondary level, but recent research about the
kind of writing assignments students do at uni-
versity reveals that the genres of writing they are
asked to produce at the university level are quite
different from what they wrote in high school.
So even if they were good high school writers,
they will still need to develop as writers in the
disciplines they study at university.
Perhaps a better way for universities to spend
money would be to support the development of
writing abilities, rather than fund a test to find out
what they already know: all students need access
to resources and support if they are to develop as
university writers, regardless of their ability upon
entrance. Having students develop a portfolio of
their writing would be a more valuable assessment tool because the portfolio reflects more
accurately than a test the conditions under which
students write at university and beyond.
Dr. Graves is a professor of English and film studies and director
of Writing Across the Curriculum at the University of Alberta. His
article on how to help improve students’ writing is on the last
page of this issue.
Religion comes in many moulds
professor ismet ugursal’s views on religion
(Letters, January issue) are inflammatory and
First, he should preface his comment about
religions being “invented” with the phrase “I feel
that ...” Professor Ugursal is, of course, stating an
opinion as though it is a fact – an opinion that statistically very few people around the world share.
As an anthropologist of religion, what I found
most problematic, however, is Professor Ugursal’s
continual use of blanket terms (“every religion,”
“throughout history”). For most of human history, most humans have worshiped in a variety
of ways (what we sometimes call “indigenous
religions” today) that do not fit the “only true god”
mould that Professor Ugursal harps on.
Comment réussir son doctorat
Il s’agit de savoir ce qu’on
An adjunct branches out
Jennifer Polk talks to Joseph
Fruscione about his reasons for
leaving the adjunct treadmill.
Sharpen your competitive edge
Improving your “soft” skills will
make you more attractive to
LinkedIn tool for universities
Universities now have an
exclusive forum to reach out to
alumni and prospective students.
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